Dr Andreas Heinz is an economist, Research Scientist and head of the Luxembourgish contribution to the WHO international partner study Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) at the Centre for Childhood and Youth Research (CCY) at the University of Luxembourg.
HBSC Survey 2014
Health behavior of school-aged children
What is the state of health and well-being of young people in Luxembourg? To answer this question, over 8,000 schoolchildren are surveyed every four years. Among other things, they are asked how many of them smoke, how often they exercise, and how well they feel at school and at home. Since HBSC is a partner study of the WHO, the results can be compared with those from 50 countries in Europe, Asia and North America.
Adolescent health behaviours determine adulthood
Few people associate adolescence with illness. Yet this period is central to the development of adolescent health and also to health policy. For example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) points out that up to 50 % of mental illnesses that persist in adulthood begin at the age of up to 14 (WHO 2012). In addition, young people often try out behaviours during this time that can affect health in the short and long term: For example, tobacco use, alcohol consumption or harmful diets.
Influences on health and well-being of adolescents
The health and well-being of adolescents are not only determined by individual factors. The immediate social environment, such as peers, parents and teachers, also have an influence. In the wider social environment, place of residence and school play a significant role. Society and its order as a whole also influence the health and well-being of young people, for example in the form of the health system.
HBSC – The International Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study
The international WHO partner study Health Behaviour in School-aged Children therefore researches the social determinants of health and well-being of schoolchildren and informs the public about the results. To this end, surveys are conducted in school classes every four years – in more than 50 countries around the world in addition to Luxembourg. Researchers can thus track changes over time and examine differences between countries.
The 2014 HBSC survey in Luxembourg
In Luxembourg, we have been conducting HBSC since 2006 at the rhythm of the international surveys. For this purpose, in 2014, 7 233 students aged 11 to 18 took part in a survey in their school class. Topics that are collected in each survey are, for example, the consumption of alcohol and tobacco, nutrition and sport. In addition, the 2014 survey dealt in depth with the use of social media.
The HBSC knowledge transfer
The research results are used in a variety of publications, such as the national reports (e.g. HBSC Report 2014, HBSC Trends Report 2006-2018) or the international HBSC report Growing up unequal: gender and socioeconomic differences in young people’s health and well-being. Scientific articles and presentations at national and international conferences are further important publication strategies.
Furthermore, the project is closely linked to the Youth Survey Luxembourg. Both surveys ask the same questions in different target groups. Thus, it is possible to make statements about adolescents and young adults aged 11 to 29.